PHW - June 2010

There were a lot of cool new songs over to hit the internet over the past 30 days, and unfortunately I didn’t get to sharing many of them on a daily basis. Been one of those months. Good thing there are plenty of more reliable new music sources out there than PHW. Consider this me playing catch-up.

MP3 :: Wherever You Go - David Dondero
MP3 :: Younger Us - Japandroids
MP3 :: Summer Holiday - Wild Nothing
MP3 :: South Carolina - Tennis
MP3 :: Didn’t You - Cloud Nothings (follow link)
MP3 :: Summer - Magic Kids
MP3 :: King Night - Salem
MP3 :: Outer Limits - Sleep 8 Over
MP3 :: I Was Thinking… - Gauntlet Hair
MP3 :: Coquet Coquette - of Montreal (follow link)
MP3 :: All Around And Away We Go - Twin Sister
MP3 :: Glorylight & Christie - Cotton Jones
MP3 :: Crank Resolutions - Meursault
MP3 :: In New Jersey - Julian Lynch

Marah - Life Is A Problem

For the sporadically great, occasionally frustrating Marah, drama has been as much a part of the Philly band’s repertoire over the past 12 years as their lyrical references to the City of Brotherly Love. After the one-two punch of 1998’s Let’s Cut The Crap And Hook Up Later On Tonight and 2000’s epochal Kids In Philly, Marah seemed like a band with limitless potential, but for a variety of reasons (questionable stylistic decisions and inter-band squabbling most prominent), they have struggled over the ensuing years to build upon those early successes. After the unexpected abandonment of three key members, not to mention the amicable departure of co-founder Serge Bielenko to be a father, the two and a half years since the release of 2008’s Angels of Destruction! have been particularly tumultuous. For lead singer/songwriter Dave Bielenko, it was time to retreat deep into the country of his native Pennsylvania with keyboardist Christine Smith to figure out what happens next.

Life Is A Problem, the band’s 7th studio album and first to be self-released on their brand new Valley Farm Songs label, aims to be a back-to-basics folk/rock record in the vein of their freewheeling early days. It’s been clear for a long time that loose, raw, devil-may-care folk rock is what they do best, and Life Is A Problem possesses the same ramshackle swagger that has always marked their best material. Whether it’s on slow-building, banjo & electric guitar epics like “Tramp Art” and “Life Is A Problem”, stripped-down rockers like “Valley Farm Song” and “Put ‘Em In The Graveyard”, or barroom folk ballads like “Within The Spirit Sagging”, “High Water”, and “Together Not Together” this new record is the most consistent set of songs Marah has strung together since Kids In Philly. It’s a dense, gloriously dysfunctional collection that’s seems unconcerned with label or fan expectations, and for that, it’s all the better. I’ve been a die-hard fan of this band since forever, and this is (finally!) the record I’ve been waiting for Marah to make for the past ten years. Well worth the wait.

MP3 :: Valley Farm Song
(from Life Is A Problem. Buy here)

[mp3] David Dondero - "Wherever You Go"

A propulsive road song from David Dondero's upcoming # Zero With A Bullet (Team Love, 8/3). This could wind up soundtracking an entire summer around here.

MP3 :: Wherever You Go

(from # Zero With A Bullet. Pre-order here)


Justin Townes Earle to release Harlem River Blues in September

Bloodshot Records has announced a new album, Harlem River Blues, from the very dapper Justin Townes Earle, due this September. The recently relocated New Yorker was inspired by the Manhattan body of water that he recently described to Paste as “the most desolate thing I’d ever seen”. Earle enlisted help from former DBT member Jason Isbell in an attempt to move away from the old time folk and country sounds of his past two albums, The Good Life and last year’s excellent Midnight At The Movies, for something that evokes the soulful sounds of Memphis and Otis Redding. Should be interesting. No free download as of yet, but here’s a pair of older tunes in case you’ve missed out to this point:

MP3 :: Mama’s Eyes
MP3 :: What I Mean To You
(from Midnight At The Movies. Buy here)

[mp3] Casey Shea - "Love Is Here To Stay"

Elephants from Casey Shea on Vimeo.

Casey Shea has been a stalwart member of New York’s music scene for years, both as a solo artist and as a member of The Undisputed Heavyweights. His new album, Love Is Here To Stay, is full of throwback rock and pop songs that inject new life into familiar sounds. It’s out now on Family Records and costs a mere $4.99 if you pick it up through their website. That video up there for “Elephant” is entirely CGI, save Shea himself, and the title track below is a delicate ballad that quietly builds to a McCartney-like finale. Casey Shea has two upcoming shows in NY - June 29th at Brooklyn Bowl and July 6th at Rockwood Music Hall - Stage 2.

MP3 :: Love Is Here To Stay
(from Love Is Here To Stay. Buy here)

Great Elk Record Release Show This Thursday @ Mercury Lounge

For a few weeks now I’ve been mentioning the terrific self-titled debut E.P. from Great Elk, and finally the week is upon us where it is ready to be officially sprung unto the world. This coming Thursday you can catch Great Elk, along with fellow PHW favorites Chris Cubeta & the Liars Club and Matt Singer, at the Mercury Lounge for the band’s record release show. You can pick up tickets for cheap right here. In addition to the kind words I’ve said about them, Great Elk have gotten some nice attention of late from Paste, Magnet, Hey Brooklyn, and The Wild Honey Pie. So go catch up on some reading about an up-and-coming indie-folk band, see them live this week, and if you haven‘t already, check out the achingly pretty “Vibrations”.

MP3 :: Vibrations
(from Great Elk. Buy here)
(Great Elk photo by Amber Marlow Blatt of Hey Brooklyn)

Beach Fossils - Beach Fossils

At a time when you can’t right click without hearing something from a Brooklyn band that’s “lo-fi”, “nostalgic”, and/or “woozy”, Beach Fossils self-titled debut somehow manages to stand out despite its commonality with so much of the music that is going around these days. The early singles ("Time", a 7" not on the album, and "Youth") were promising and showcased a band well-versed in crafting bright, summery melodies that still maintained an early R.E.M.-like murkiness. Now that the full album is out it's safe to say that this record doesn’t disappoint at all. It’s a garage/pop gem full of memorably chiming guitar leads that's gotten better with each successive listen I've given it over the past three weeks. Available now from Captured Tracks.

MP3 :: Youth
(from Beach Fossils. Buy here)

MP3 :: Time

[mp3] Magic Kids - "Summer"

I’ve been incredibly busy lately, shuffling between two jobs and getting my family ready for a move to a new apartment next weekend. Otherwise I would’ve gotten to sharing this one a few days ago like friggin everyone else. Whatever, here’s the very cool, very orchestral new indie-pop song from Magic Kids that has the indie music community in a tizzy. It’s from Memphis, due out on True Panther on August 24 and, in the band’s own words, “isn’t ‘fun in the summertime’ kind of summer, but more the wistful, fighting-loneliness-with-your-friends kind of summer.” Worth hearing and then some.

MP3 :: Summer
(from Memphis. Info here)

The Walkmen to Release Lisbon in September

With major releases due later this summer/fall from indie royalty such as Arcade Fire, Interpol, M.I.A., and Panda Bear, the news today of a new record from The Walkmen might get a bit overshadowed on many fans' calenders. Hopefully that doesn't happen - The Walkmen, on the heels of 2008's incomparable You & Me, have become one of my favorite working bands and personally, I can't wait to hear how they follow that one up. According to Pitchfork, Lisbon was recorded over the past two years, partially in the Portuguese city the bears the album's name. Head over to the 'Fork for more info. Lisbon drops September 14 on Fat Possum.

Video :: On The Water (fan video)
(from You & Me. Buy here)

[mp3] Cotton Jones - "Glorylight & Christie"

Page France’s rousing “Chariot”, the opener from 2006’s Hello, Dear Wind, was one of my favorite songs of the last decade. I can’t even tell you how much I love it - it‘s gone beyond just being a favorite and into the sort of sentimental place (for me and my wife) where very few songs ever go. Since disbanding Page France a few years ago, songwriter Michael Nau has focused his attention on his new project, Cotton Jones ("Basket Ride" having been recently abbreviated), who are preparing the release of their second album for Suicide Squeeze. Tall Hours In The Glowstream drops August 24, but you can preview the record below with “Glorylight And Christie”.

MP3 :: Glorylight And Christie
(from Tall Hours In The Glowstream. Info here)

[mp3] Hallelujah the Hills - "That Ticking Sound You Hear" & "Introductory Saints"

Hallelujah The Hills’ 2009 sophomore album, Colonial Drones, was a promising, spirited bit of a underdog indie-rock that featured a terrific lead single in “Blank Passports”. To prepare for their upcoming summer slot opening for one of this year’s breakout success stories, Titus Andronicus, the Boston-based 6 piece has released two new free singles to the internet. “That Ticking Sound You Hear” is a slowly building, rickety bit of indie-folk that has an experimental underbelly, and “Introductory Saints” has a barroom feel to it as it chugs along. Both are worth hearing and again show a band with a big upside. Have a listen:

And in case you missed it last year:

MP3 :: Blank Passports
(from Colonial Drones. Buy here)

Hallelujah The Hills will open for Titus Andronicus, as well as play cello, horns, and keyboards with the band, on the following dates:

Sat, Jul 10, 2010 New Haven, CT Lily's Pad
Sun, Jul 11, 2010 Northampton, MA Pearl Street
Mon, Jul 12, 2010 Albany, NY Valentine's
Tue, Jul 13, 2010 Buffalo, NY Ninth Ward @ Babeville
Wed, Jul 14, 2010 Toronto, ON Horseshoe Tavern
Thu, Jul 15, 2010 Grand Rapids, MI Intersection Lounge
Fri, Jul 16, 2010 Chicago, IL Subterranean (Pitchfork Festival after party)

[mp3] Japandroids - "Younger Us"

You probably already know that the Vancouver-based garage/punk kids of Japandroids plan to release a series of singles this year, both digitally and in 7” format, each featuring an outtake from their headrush of a debut, 2009’s brilliant Post Nothing. The first one, “Art Czars”, dropped back in April. News came this week that the second is being readied for a July 7 release and will feature this shredder, “Younger Us”, backed by a cover of X’s “Sex And Dying In High Society”. Via Pitchfork.

MP3 :: Younger Us
(from Younger Us 7”. Pre-order here)

My Morning Jacket To Play Entire Catalog at NYC's Terminal 5

NYC-area My Morning Jacket fans have something big to look forward to this coming Fall. Terminal 5 will host the band from October 18-23 for a series of shows that will feature performances of each of their 5 studio albums in their entirety, one each night. Personally, I’ll be hitting the At Dawn night (10/19) if I can get out for an evening, but honestly that should be one hell of a run. Individual shows go on sale June 18, but a special package is available for those who’d want to see each night starting June 14. Get your tickets straight from Terminal 5.

Stream :: Evil Urges
(from Evil Urges. Buy here)

[mp3] Black Mountain - "Old Fangs"

Pink Mountaintops’ psyche-folk masterpiece Outside Love was one of my very favorite albums of the last year. Stephen McBean returns this year with a new album from his primary songwriting outlet, the heavier Black Mountain. “Old Fangs” is from Wilderness Heart (9/14) and is available as a free download over at Jagjaguwar for the price of an email.

MP3 :: Old Fangs
(from Wilderness Heart. Info here)

Meursault - All Creatures Will Make Merry

Scotland’s Meursault have recently released their second album, All Creatures Will Make Merry, on Song, By Toad Records. If you missed out on their terrific 2008 debut, Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues, then here’s your chance to make good and catch up with a band you would almost assuredly fall for very quickly. Despite the fact that, on paper, this band isn’t doing anything particularly innovative, Meursault have discovered a sound that is as unique as it is instantly recognizable. Lo-fi hiss meets heart-wrenching acoustics meets buzzing electronics meets the highly impassioned vocal presence of Neil Pennycook. All Creatures Will Make Merry is another winner from one of the U.K.’s most promising up and coming bands.

MP3 :: Crank Resolutions
MP3 :: Sleet
(from All Creatures Will Make Merry. Buy here)

[mp3] Mountain Man - "Soft Skin"

It’s taken me a few listens to warm up to the old time harmonies of Mountain Man, but, now that I have, I’m enjoying what I hear quite a bit. Mountain Man is actually a trio of Vermont women whose songs are often a cappella, with the occasional acoustic guitar. After slowly falling for the disarming “Soft Skin”, I’m really looking forward to hearing more from these gals. Their debut, Made The Harbor, is due from Bella Union on June 14.

MP3 :: Soft Skin (follow link)
(from Made the Harbor. Info here)

[video] Neon Indian - "Sleep Paralysist"

Neon Indian have made an appropriately tripped-out video for “Sleep Paralysist”, one of my personal favorite jams of 2010. The song is still available as a free download at the Green Label Sound website below.

MP3 :: Sleep Paralysist (link)
(free single released through Green Label Sound)

[Stream] New Sun Kil Moon

Mark Kozelek’s Sun Kil Moon will release Admiral Fell Promises, the follow up to 2008’s April, on July 13. You can stream two songs, the title track and “Australian Winter”, over at the Caldo Verde website.

Stream :: Admiral Fell Promises
Stream :: Australian Winter
(from Admiral Fell Promises. Pre-order here)